The Corcoran Family in Futures and Beyond

Michael Volpe

After spending a decade in finance, Michael Volpe has been a freelance investigative journalist since 2009. His work has been published locally in the Chicago Reader, Chicago Crusader, Chicago Heights Patch, and New City. Nationally, Volpe's work has appeared in a wide variety of publications including the Washington Examiner, the Daily Caller, Crime Magazine, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Newsletter, and Counter Punch. Volpe has been recognized by whistleblowers as leading the charge in getting their stories out. His first book Prosecutors Gone Wild was published in October 2012, his second book The Definitive Dossier of PTSD in Whistleblowers was published in February 2013 and his third book Bullied to Death was published in August 2015.

The Corcoran Family in Futures and Beyond

November 25, 2019

Gerry Corcoran is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at RJ O’Brien (RJO), a leading independent futures commission merchant (FCM).

An FCM is, “an entity that solicits or accepts orders to buy or sell futures contracts, options on futures, retail off-exchange forex contracts or swaps, and accepts money or other assets from customers to support such orders,” according to the National Futures Association (NFA).

RJO is, “the oldest and largest independent futures brokerage firm in the U.S. We provide a full range of services to the futures industry’s largest global network of introducing brokers and commercial, institutional and individual investors,” according to RJOs website.

It was founded in 1914.

Furthermore, Corcoran’s son, Pat, is the manager for Chance the Rapper, one of the biggest music stars on the planet.

Both were guests on the latest podcast by the Futures Industry Association entitled FIA Speaks, which is hosted by FIA CEO Walt Lukken.

In the 1980s, the elder Corcoran, said he got involved in a start up partially backed by the Chicago Sun Times, one of Chicago’s two biggest newspapers.

Corcoran noted, “I don’t not exaggerate when I say this, but it was the precursor to what we know today internet. The Sun Times coupled with Honeywell and Santel put a joint venture together, and, to distribute create news and information, create connectivity to banks and airlines. So, I was the CFO of that joint venture and the joint venture was just too early.”

Corcoran said they were trying to do all this before PCs were invented, “we were doing with that desktop connections to your tv that we used to connect the Pong game with.”

He said that while the venture didn’t work out that spun into an opportunity to be the CFO of the Sun Times before he was offered the CFO position- during an outing he noted at a Chicago Cubs baseball game- at RJO, by his best friend John O’Brien in 1987.

At the time, the business had 65 employees, he said, which was down to 35 by the end of his first week.

“When I walked in the door, we had two PCs for the whole company,” he said.

Now, with Corcoran as Chairman and CEO, it has 650 employees, with $5 billion in customer assets and $600 million revenue.

RJO has offices in, “pretty much every country that is meaningful in the futures industry,” Corcoran said further.

“Making sure RJO is relevant, making sure that we’re strong, making sure that we’re risk averse,” Corcoran said of RJOs vision, “also being really creative- following the path of the futures industry rather than fighting the path of the futures. I saw, in my lifetime, probably over 100 family owned FCMs in the Chicago area fight change, fight electronics, fight mergers and you know my spirit is I embraced it.”

Corcoran’s son, Pat, may wind up more successful than his father.

Pat, 29, said that while he was in college as a junior at DePaul University in Chicago, Chance the Rapper, then still fairly unknown, presented him with an opportunity to manage him.

Gerry said that when his son first approached him, he asked if all this couldn’t wait a year while he finished school.

The offer couldn’t wait, and the rest is history. Chance the Rapper is now a global brand.

The FIA is, “the leading global trade organization for the futures, options and centrally cleared derivatives markets, with offices in Brussels, London, Singapore and Washington, D.C.,” according to its website.

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